[Translation] Ghalib's Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat


Mirza Ghalib's (1797-1869)  ghazal Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat is one very dear to me. This song has a wistful yearning for the beloved which is very appealing and so is the doting, forgiving tone that pervades the entire ghazal. An interesting aspect of this ghazal is that each of the couplets here are designed as conditional clauses.

[Original]
Yeh na thee hamari qismat keh wisaal-e-yaar hota
Agar aur jeete rehtey yehi intezaar hota.

Tere waade par jiyee ham to yeh jaan jhoot jana
Keh khushi se mar na jaate agar aitbaar hota

koi meray dil say puchey tere teerey neem kash ko
ye khalish kahan se hoti jo jiger ke paar hota

Kahoon kis se main keh kya hai, shab-e-gham buri balaa hai
Mujhe kya bura tha marana agar ek baar hota

Huye mar keh hum jo ruswa huye kyun ka gharq-e-dariya
Na kabhi janaza ututha na kahin mazaar hota

Yeh masaael-e-tasavvuf yeh tera bayan Ghalib
Tujhe ham wali samajhate Joh na badaa khwar hota. 

 [Translation]
 To meet you in this lifetime, was never in my fate,
 If granted more years, would have spent those in this wait.


A life lived on your promise, would have been but a charade,
Would I not have died of happiness, had there been of hope, but a trace.

Had some one inquired of my heart, of your drawn dart,
My heart would have felt no pain, even if your arrow pierced it hard.

With no participant in my joy and grievance, I spend my evenings in silence,
I do not dread death, had it, but come, all at once.

Disgraced as I shall be in death, why not I drown in the sea?
Fated, as I am to not have a funeral, nor a tomb erected for me. 

These lofty pronouncements and these confessions O Ghalib,
Could have conferred upon you sainthood, had wine not crossed your lip.

There are many versions of this song, but I liked the rendition by Habeeb Wali Muhammad the most!

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